a monthly feature by Robin Anna Smith
"Painted On" - Multi-media, Smith, R.A.
We’re halfway through Fall and my mood and productivity are waning with the sunlight. I have so many things to do, yet instead I spend my time lying in bed, toggling between my current piece of writing and various websites, which are showcasing the new holiday makeup kits. Never mind the fact that I don’t need them and probably wouldn’t use them. They are colorful, shiny, and glittery enough to draw me in and ignite a creative spark.
I envision my face about twenty years younger—because this is how I think of myself—perfectly powdered, blushed and highlighted. My eyes are framed in smoldering Young Love and Drunk Dial; lit up with Bang Bang and Hot Spot. Shiny lips pout in Devilish. Feeling energized and empowered by pigment and shimmer, I add the Naked Cherry Vault to my cart.
I click back to my writing page, and I’m underwhelmed by its plainness. Black and white. Devoid of the marvelous hues and glow of Sephora’s website. It begs to be filled with vibrancy. I type a few words and look around.
Glancing out my second-floor window, I’m no more inspired by the monotone landscape. The lovely red, yellow and orange leaves are already muddled, their vibrancy overcast with decay. Grey and brown meld together into a pronounced gravity, which I feel to my core. I type a few more words and save.
I get up to fill my glass with water from the bathroom tap and glance into the mirror. My earlier vision fades into laugh lines and wrinkles. The painted porcelain has morphed into a weathered canvas, mottled by time and dulled by experience. I try to mentally overlay my previous notion on top of my reality. The result is reminiscent of a grumpy old clown wearing painted on joy—disturbing and not fooling anyone.
After finishing my drink, I go back to my computer and close all of the tabs related to makeup. I open a new one and head over to the Behr website.
atop a carcass
picking out color
Robin Anna Smith (she/her) is a writer and visual artist whose work focuses on disability, gender, trauma, and loss. Her work can be found in a number of online and print publications including Blithe Spirit, Into the Void, #FemkuMag, OPEN: Journal of Arts & Letters, and more. She is featured in the following anthologies: Unsealing Our Secrets, You Are Not Your Rape, and We Will Not Be Silenced. She has two lizards, three dogs, and a cat, who has the same rare disorders that she does. More of her work can be found at www.robinannasmith.com or Twitter @robinannasmith.